Demographic storms and retirement dreams
There is a story that has made the rounds a couple of times in papers around Canada, it seems people are not ready for retirement. Headlined, "Demographic storm could crush retirement dream" the international survey finds among Canucks,
A "perfect storm" of demographic, financial and individual factors will derail people's retirement plans if they don't change course, according to a new retirement report.
Most Canadians, as with much of the Western industrialised world, will be relying on a public pension for a large portion of their retirement income. What the survey from HSBC Insurance shows, and not just for Canada, is that the number of dependent adults over 65 will outpace the number of dependent children under 14. Here in the Great White North that should happen sometime between 2010 and 2015. In Britain, seniors will outstrip children sometime next year and France the year after that. Japan passed this landmark a decade ago.
Mark Steyn wrote a book that still remains controversial over it’s claims and it’s title American Alone yet among the G8 countries that’s exactly where America is, for now, standing alone. The U.S.A. won’t be passing the more seniors than children threshold until 2010 according to HSBC. Developing countries and up and coming economies like Brazil are even further off, the report speculates that around 2030 there will be more people ordering from the senior’s early-bird menu than the kiddie’s menu but that’s a big assumption given that it is 21 years away.
All this to say once again that if nation states want to build public services such as pensions or state run healthcare then they also need to encourage people to have children. The model of the modern welfare state developed after the Second World War was predicated on an ever-expanding population, younger workers would pay for the benefits of older retirees. Sometime in the 1970s people in the most “modern” countries all but stopped having children, or enough children to keep the system going. The pyramid this system is based on is about to be inverted and some leading “experts” and advisors to the most powerful governments on earth keep saying there are too many people.
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